Africa: A continent on the rise

IMF’s first deputy managing director David Lipton is in Mozambique. Below are the excerpts from his speech on sub Saharan Africa.

“Africa has benefited tremendously from this trend. In 2008/2009, many were concerned that the continent would be hard hit by the global financial crisis. There was an impact, but most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were remarkably resilient, notably the low-income countries. Growth was robust in 2012 at 5.1 percent, and that should accelerate moderately in the coming years. We project 5.4 percent growth in 2013 and 5.7 percent next year. Low-income countries should grow even faster, benefiting from rising domestic demand.

Demand for Africa’s commodities has helped spur this growth, particularly as new resources have been discovered and developed. But Sub-Saharan Africa’s resilience and growth are not simply a matter of rising commodity exports. In fact, some of the fastest-growing economies are not natural resource exporters.

This economic performance reflects many political, social and economic changes over the past generation. Most important was a new commitment to political stability as Africa moved beyond the ideological strife of the Cold War and then found strength in regional solutions to the conflicts of the 80s and 90s. At the same time, many governments gave a greater role to market forces in the economy, while strengthening economic stability. With rising educational standards, young populations increasingly are taking advantage of the new economic opportunities.

Information technology—computers and phones—is increasingly bridging the geographical distance between Africa and the global economy. And within countries, that same technology is rapidly bringing services that were unavailable just a few years ago; for example, mobile banking. Now online education can help young people like you to break down the knowledge barriers that have contributed to Africa’s remoteness…”